Bryce Harper appears to be doing his due diligence before finally choosing a team to play for.
The former MVP met with Phillies owner John Middleton in Las Vegas on Friday, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The meeting was more of a “meet-and-greet” according to ESPN and no deal is expected to be agreed to Friday.
The Phillies, who also met with the outfielder in January, are considered the favorite to land Harper’s services with the Giants, Padres, White Sox and Nationals still in the running.
Nationals owner Mark Lerner told NBC Sports on Friday that the club has “moved on” from Harper and wished him “nothing by the best.” He did not completely rule out Harper, who the Nationals offered a 10-year, $300 million contract to before the end of the regular season, still returning to Washington.
“But there’s always that, the door’s cracked a little bit,” Lerner said.
The White Sox are also not in “aggressive pursuit” of Harper after missing out on Manny Machado, according to MLB Network. Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres earlier this week. San Diego general manager A.J. Preller, however, didn’t rule out the team making another big signing.
“We’re always open-mined to looking at improving our club,” Preller said. “We understand we want to be at the top part of the standings. We have a lot of work to do from that standpoint.”